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How to Access the Windows Recovery Console
When your computer crashes or wont boot you are limited to what you can do to get it going again. Most people don’t like to have to format and start over from scratch if they can’t get their computer to start. Fortunately Microsoft included a feature with Windows XP, 2000 and 2003 that allows you to boot your computer into a recovery mode called the Recovery Console to try and repair the cause of your problem.
The Windows Recovery Console is used to recover your operating system when your computer does not start correctly or does not start at all. The Recovery Console gives you limited access to the NTFS file system, FAT, and FAT32 volumes. The Recovery Console prevents the familiar Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI) from loading in order to repair and recover Windows functionality. Here are the steps required to load the Recovery Console.
You will need a Windows XP CD to boot from. Put the CD in the drive and start the computer. You should get an option to Press any key to boot from CD. Press any key when you see this message.
Next, Windows XP will Begin the Setup Process as if you were installing Windows itself.
At the screen below press R to enter the Recovery Console.
The Recovery Console will ask which Windows installation to access. Most people only have one Windows XP installation so you most likely will only have one choice.
Then it will ask for the administrator password for your Windows XP installation. Type in your administrator password or leave it blank and press enter if you don't have one.
The Recovery Console is now ready for use and you can type in commands to try and fix your computer's problem. When you are finished, take out the Windows XP CD and type exit to restart the computer.
You can also install the Recovery Console on your computer so its always there as a boot option every time you start your computer. This way you won't need to have your Windows CD handy if you run into a problem.
Related Computer Tips:
Changing your computer's boot order
Windows Recovery Console Commands
Performing a Clean Boot in Windows XP
System Recovery Options in Windows Vista